Categories
Tech

What’s the most underrated tech brand?

The most underrated tech brand is Sony.

Many people have this image of Sony as being a company that was once innovative, but has since fallen from grace and is now mostly known for gaming (Playstation), Music (Sony Music) and Movies (Columbia Pictures), the latter two not particularly related to tech.

Let me explain why Sony is still innovative in fact, at a higher level than Apple or Samsung or most other tech companies right now.

Firstly, Sony has been one of the most innovative tech companies of all time. The list of their accomplishments cannot be understated:

Trinitron – Wikipedia televisions, whose superior design ( the single-gun three-cathode picture tube, and the vertically aligned aperture grill) made it reign supreme as one of the best color televisions on the market for over 20 years

-the Betamax – Wikipedia video format in the 1970s

-the first portable music player, the Walkman – Wikipedia in the late 70s

-SDDS format, a competitor to the Dolby surround sound format

S/PDIF – Wikipedia interface (the S stands for Sony)

-the Super Audio CD – Wikipedia (Super Audio CD), still used today in some high end audiophile systems

-Sony and Philips also jointly developed the Compact disc – Wikipedia

-Sony introduced the 3.5″ floppy disk, which lasted for a good 2 decades after their introduction

-the Blu-ray – Wikipedia format, was primarily spearheaded by Sony and still used today

-Other more forgotten physical media formats (all proprietary to Sony): UMD, Memory stick, PS Vita memory etc

-the first popular CD based video game console, the Playstation (yes the Sega CD and Turbographx CD came before, but it was the PSOne that popularized the format for video games)

-the best selling video game console of all time (and most people’s first DVD player), the PlayStation 2 – Wikipedia

-the Vaio – Wikipedia line of laptops which amongst other innovations introduced the first LED backlit displays (became standard on all laptops after that), chiclet style keyboards (way before Apple and others did), thin and light designs (years before the MacBook Air), and switchable graphics (now standard on entry level gaming laptops)

-the first consumer OLED TV (the Sony XEL-1 – Wikipedia)

-the first popular robotic companions (AIBO – Wikipedia) and oddities such as the Sony Rolly – Wikipedia

-the first truly immersive head mounted displays (Sony Glasstron, HMZ-T1 – Wikipedia, T2, and T3) – its designs are still being used today by smaller companies in the HMD niche

-The first handheld gaming console to use exclusively digital games and no physical releases (PSP Go – way ahead of its time)

-The first handheld gaming console with an OLED display (PlayStation Vita – Wikipedia)

-the LDAC (codec) – Wikipedia high res wireless audio codec

That’s a heck of a lot of innovations for any tech company. But most people think Sony’s innovations have come and gone, and just like post Steve Jobs Apple, their products have languished since – and they couldn’t be more wrong! Sony is still innovating, they just have been very low key in marketing their more cooler products.

Let’s take a look at Sony’s current tech portfolio now, shall we? Some things may surprise you

-Sony’s most well known product right now is the PlayStation 4 – Wikipedia, and its the best selling console of its generation

-Sony’s Mirrorless Sony α – Wikipedia Cameras have completely upended the DSLR market and as a result forced Canon and Nikon and other camera makers to move to mirrorless as well

-Sony’s OLED TVs (like the A9F and A9G) have the speaker built into the display itself; no other television maker has done this

-Sony’s Quantum Dot TVs using Triluminous technology – came out WAY before Samsung’s QLED TVs did. Samsung would have you believe they invented it – but it was Sony.

-Sony’s Sony Xperia – Wikipedia phones are perennially underrated; they were one of the first smartphones to have water resistance (IP67+) and support high res audio and currently are the only smartphones on the market with a 21:9 cinema aspect ratio display.

-Sony’s high end Walkmans and Headphones (like the WM1Z and Z1R) compete with the best of the best from other high end audio, each costing over $2k+ – as a high end audio brand, Sony is as respected as any other company which is impressive for a company who dabbles in basically every price range. Sony SA-Z1 Hi-Res Near Field Powered Speaker System Signature Series their latest speaker, an unheard of design that projects near-field sound to the listener, retails for over $6k.

-Sony’s action cameras (AS300, X3000 etc) were the first on the market with optical image stabilization (OIS) – its competitors like GoPro were still using EIS (Electronic image stabilization)

-They have a line of very successful noise cancelling wireless headphones (WH-1000XM3) as well as the first ever noise cancelling wireless earbuds (WF-1000X) as well. The fact that they caught up to Bose in noise cancellation technology is astonishing considering that Bose specialized in that technology for years while Sony has their hands in every industry.

-Just other generally cool stuff that other companies do not care to try; Sony Glass Sound Speaker a glass speaker that doubles as a lamp? Sure.
A projector that can project touch surfaces onto any area? Xperia Touch Official Website – Sony Mobile (Global English) this is astonishing technology, and I can just imagine if Apple made something like this it would grab headlines everywhere. But Sony as usual, keeps their cool stuff low key.

-And lets not forget, they are still making aibo robots as well (again, which other company is doing this???).

Sony should be getting much more appreciation for their innovation. They are still one of the most innovative companies on the market yet people always forget about them. It’s very rare that a company does so many things so well, and for so long. That’s why Sony tends to charge a premium for their devices.

Categories
Tech

Which laptop brands are the best and worst? Why?

So, qualification for myself, I collect computers and laptops especially:

My favorite laptop brands:

-ThinkPads. I own like 4 of them. Seriously they are awesome, the older Lenovos and IBMs tend to be better though. The ThinkPad X61 is my personal fav. The ThinkPad 25 which i also own below is my daily driver:

-Dell Latitude. Similar to ThinkPads, but the new ones come with the nifty InfinityEdge display and tons of Thunderbolt 3 ports. Haven’t had an issue with any of them yet.

-Alienware. Yeah, I used to think they were overpriced, but surprisingly they are well made. They use aluminum and magnesium for their builds which is better quality than the Asus ROG / MSI / Acer Predator ones which use plastic usually. I’ve been using the same Alienware for almost 2 years, everyday its been left on, for VR / gaming etc and had no issues

-Apple. Yeah, I’m not a big fan of Apple in general, but I don’t doubt their Macbooks are well built and look really clean and stylish. The new Macbook Pros I do not recommend for professionals (go for a Dell XPS or ThinkPad X1 instead) but they make great consumer laptops (I know, it’s “Pro” but its actually an upgraded Mac Air)

-Microsoft. Their Surface Pros and SurfaceBooks are excellent. They are taking design cues from Apple and some like the SurfaceBook are just straight up innovative. I used to use the X1 Yoga as my convertible but the SurfaceBook 2 is now my main convertible. detachable, convertible, dedicated graphics, 3:2 display with high ppi (in my ranking its the third best screen I ever had right behind the MacBook Pro and X1 Yoga with OLED), stylish, and portable.

Categories
General

Functionality over form for gadgets, Style over brand for clothing

One thing that’s really changed about me from the past is I no longer care about showing off my wealth; that’s something that I’ve criticized Chinese people for a lot and still do. I don’t understand whats the point of showing off your wealth by buying a fancy car or wearing expensive designer clothing. Like whats the point? You want people to know you are rich? Why? So they can rob you? Sounds arrogant to me.

I am actually quite blessed to say that since 2011 since I got my first job out of university, I haven’t really ‘struggled’ to make ends meet, per say. I’ve been living comfortably (I’m not rich.. just comfortable) for the past 6 years. But I was a poor university student before 2011 plus things in Canada usually cost more, so one of the first things I did when I first came to San Francisco was to buy up a lot of brand name clothing! A&F shirts, Lacoste polos, Lucky Brand / Guess jeans, you name it. I spent a lot of money on new clothes, only to realize that it didn’t really matter. I didn’t really care about the names and SF people really didn’t care either. When I lived in Korea I threw away all my American clothes and exchanged them for no name Korean brands – which were ironically better quality because they were made in Korea and alot of the name brand clothing was made in China. But the important thing is the style. I noticed in Korea people didn’t care about brands so much like in China – they cared about the style more. If it looked good, then wear it. Who cares who its made by? I learned this when I was in Korea.

So now I don’t care what brand I buy or wear anymore as long as it looks good. The opposite applies to electronics. I own laptops by Asus, Microsoft, Lenovo, Dell and Apple. My speakers are made by LG, Sony, Yamaha, Klipsch, Polk Audio, Creative, and Bose. My phones come from Sony, Apple, Essential, Blackberry and Google. My TV is Panasonic. My headphones are Sony, Fender, Monster, Audeze and Master&Dynamic. My microphones are Shure. My cameras are by DJI and Sony. My Keyboards are from Aorus, Logitech and Microsoft. My mice are from Asus, Microsoft, Razer, and Logitech. So yes I have brand name electronics – but they are all different brands. I don’t really have brand loyalty but I do care that they are not some cheap no name Chinese knockoff. That is important to me. But thing to note is that for electronics, I care about functionality of what I buy more than the design.

Take a look at this computer.

Apple MacBook Pro
Apple MacBook Pro

This computer is the epitome of form over function. It’s sexy looking, it’s thin and it’s made of aluminum. It’s nice looking. But it’s rather limited in functionality. There’s no touch screen. The graphics are integrated. The keyboard has shallow travel. There’s only 2 ports on it and one of them is for charging. The only reason I have this computer is for MacOS – which is essential for my programming tasks. It may as well just be a travel ultrabook – and even then the iPad Pro + keyboard kills it in portability, or Microsoft Surface Book 2 just kill it for the specs. Overall I only have this computer for the OS thats it. This computer costs $1900 when configured with the Core i7, 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD.

Now look at this computer.

Lenovo ThinkPad TP25
Lenovo ThinkPad TP25

This computer is the epitome of function over form. I use this one as my main computer over the MacBook – even though it costs the same amount of money, $1900. It’s not sexy looking sure – it looks like it came from the early 2000s in fact – but it has way more functions than the MacBook has. It comes with the same specs first off – Core i7, 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD. Furthermore – it’s tested to military standards, keyboard is spill-proof, the keyboard is a full 7 row keyboard with at least 4x the amount of key travel the MacBook Pro has, it has mobile broadband (WWAN) and a removable battery (the Macbook you can’t even upgrade the RAM), it has a full set of 8 ports (no dongles needed), it has Nvidia 940MX graphics (granted not the most powerful but still better than integrated), you can use the pointer without taking your hands off the keyboard (its called a trackpoint), and it has a touch screen – and it weighs just 0.5lbs more, and a full 3 year warranty. So yeah. I’m taking this computer almost every time (except when I need to program or use Final Cut Pro).

Here I’m responding to TP25 haters…

Function over form. For much the same reason I have a Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact over the new iPhone X. Because even though that phone looks better with the thin bezels and OLED screens and stuff – mine has more battery life, microSD, headphone jack and IP68. top spec hardware specs too. And did I mention at half the price of the iPhone X? Yeah that too. I’ll always take the more useful over the more stylish for electronics. For clothing I take the stylish over the brand name. Because clothing is a huge part of how people see you and how you present yourself. A good stylish looking shirt or blazer is going to draw way more attention than using a sexy bezel-less iPhone X. I guarantee you.